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Centre County 4-H Robotics teams successful at qualifier

Top Honors

PHOTO PROVIDED Members of Centre County 4-H Flex Force One are Ben Hargrove, Issac Haar, Gabe Geiger, Joshua Wang, David Chong, Jerry Zhang, Sophie Marsala, Julian Tapia, Issac Tan, Timothy Tan, Constantine Pan, Juliana Wong, Elijah Adu, Samuel LI, Domick Drew, Jonah Trout.

BELLEFONTE — Penn State Extension-Centre County 4-H has announced that two of its 4-H Robotics Clubs competed in the West Central Pennsylvania qualifier for the First Tech Challenge Robotics Competition. One of the teams even took home the championship title.

Centre County 4-H Flex Force One (Team 14382) and Centre County 4-H Phobos Ares (Team 16354) traveled to the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, where they both competed and achieved great success.

Centre County 4-H Flex Force One won the competition, which qualifies the team to compete in the Pennsylvania State Robotics Championships. The team is also the winner of the Control Award, sponsored by Arm, Inc. This award recognizes a team that demonstrates innovative thinking in the control system to solve game challenges. Such challenges could include Autonomous Operation, enhanced mechanical systems with intelligent control, or the use of sensors to achieve better results on the field.

Here is what the judges had to say: “Engineering a robot to meet the challenges dreamed up by FIRST Tech Challenge requires dedication, persistence, and time. The robots must be controlled even though the teams that build them are free spirited. The sensors, motors, and moving arms helped the team make their forces to be flexible and number one!”

Centre County 4-H Phobos Ares brought home The Collins Aerospace Innovate Award. This award recognizes a team that utilizes ingenuity and inventiveness to make their designs come to life. Judges award this to the team that has the most innovative and creative robot design solution to the FIRST Tech Challenge game.

Elements of this award include elegant design, robustness and out-of-the-box robot sub-assembly components. The team’s engineering notebook showed the design of the components and the team’s robot and clearly explained how the team arrived at their solution. Here is what the judges had to say: “This team’s unique design definitely had a look of its own. This team’s robot has the ability to SHOOT the Skystones to the MOON. Their six green wheels must have really been turning to come up with the creative design.”

For those that are unfamiliar with the First Tech Challenge, here is an excerpt from their website:

“It’s way more than building robots. FIRST Tech Challenge teams (up to 15 team members, grades 7-12) are challenged to design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format.

Guided by adult coaches and mentors, students develop STEM skills and practice engineering principles, while realizing the value of hard work, innovation, and working as a team.

The robot kit is reusable from year to year and can be coded using a variety of levels of Java-based programming. Teams design and build robots, raise funds, design and market their team brand, and do community outreach to earn specific awards. Participants are eligible to apply for more than $80 million in college scholarships.”

The Centre County Extension Office is extremely proud of the youth members and the adult leaders in both clubs for their passion and commitment to the 4-H robotics program.

Administered in Pennsylvania by Penn State Extension, 4-H is a non-formal educational youth-development program of the United States Department of Agriculture that helps young people develop knowledge and skills to become capable, caring and contributing citizens. To find your local program, visit the Penn State Extension website at https://extension.psu.edu/programs/4-h

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